From Pastor Kent Sperry
“And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.”
(Hosea 2:8 ESV)
Although it’s hard to believe, Thanksgiving is almost upon us. And even though Thanksgiving is almost lost to us today, even though it’s looked upon as nothing more than the beginning of the Christmas season, it is a very important holiday. It’s very important because of the truth of which it reminds us.
Thanksgiving is a day of thanks. And being thankful implies that someone has helped us, that someone has blessed us, in some say. So, this thanksgiving is directed toward someone. It’s directed toward someone who is the source of our blessing.
Most of us understand, in our society, that as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we are offering our thanks to God. We are acknowledging that he is the source of our blessing. We are acknowledging that we would have nothing apart from him.
As simple as this truth may seem, it’s very important. It’s very important because, if we fail to understand this, we will not continue to trust in the Lord. If we fail to understand this, we will place our trust in someone or something else that we view as the source of our blessing.
Our Wednesday night Bible study recently began our look at Hosea. Hosea was sent to tell the people of Israel that they’d been faithless to God. They had been an adulterous people. And, for this reason, God’s punishment was coming upon them.
They were chasing after other gods, believing that these deities were the source of their blessing. They credited these false gods with the provisions they enjoyed. They failed to understand, as we see in the above verse, that it was the Lord who had provided these blessings.
Even though the practice of idolatry seems archaic to us, in many ways, we have the same tendency. We have all of these wonderful blessings that have been lavished upon us by God. However, we chase after other gods, giving them the credit for the blessings we enjoy.
It could be a false religion or a false god. It could be nature, or the earth itself. It could be science or technology. It could even be ourselves, and our sense of hard work. But, whatever the case, we see this person or thing as the source of our blessing. And, for this reason, we pursue it and trust in it rather than God.
God planned to remove this delusion from the Israelites by withdrawing his hand of blessing. He would no longer grant to them his provision. And, in this way, they would come to see that these false gods had done nothing for them. They would come to see that these false gods could do nothing for them.
Although it seems harsh, this punishment was meant to accomplish something good. It was meant to draw them back to himself. As they once again recognized the Lord as the source of their blessings, they would worship him and trust in him alone.
My prayer is that we would never come to this point. My prayer is that God would never have to withdraw his hand of blessing from us. My prayer is that we would continue to acknowledge him as the source of our blessing, that we would continue to trust in him, and that we’d give him the glory for the marvelous grace he bestows upon us.
However, as we see the ways in which we’re guilty of this sin, we must seek the Lord’s forgiveness. We must confess to him our sin, asking for his mercy, trusting in the atonement provided by Jesus. We must look to him not only for provision of our worldly needs, but also for his provision of forgiveness and mercy, which is promised to all who trust in him.
Pastor Kent Sperry
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
Words from Kevin
One Body with Many Members
Romans 12:4-6 (ESV) 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.
The Congregation, along with being the right form of the Kingdom of God on earth, is the body of Christ here on earth, commissioned to work together for the mission of Christ in the world.
It is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that call people to the Congregation. They do this through Baptism and through the preaching of God’s Word, because these are the means of grace that make dead sinners spiritually alive in Christ, and so also, they knit the different members together to make one body.
And so, it is also the members that look after body and serve the other parts of the body, just like a hand takes care of a body’s hair, or a mouth is responsible to make sure the rest of the body is fed. We’re all connected, we’re all interdependent, and we all need each other.
This is part of why our Congregation keeps a membership roster. When we need a “foot,” it’s helpful for us to have a defined list of “feet” we can call on to serve us.
Our roster also helps us to define our area of responsibility. The spiritual leaders of our Congregation (Deacons, Elders, Pastors) are responsible to watch over the whole body, and so for them, knowing if a member is part of our body or not helps those leaders to know who they are responsible for and who they are not. It’s kind of like how it’d be pretty weird if you randomly started combing someone else’s hair, but it’s also pretty noticeable if you never comb your own. We, as a spiritual body, are responsible to assess and take care of the spiritual needs of our body.
(Incidentally, if someone is not part of another Christian Congregation, then they are still part of our mission field, and so while they are not part of our “responsibility” in the same way as members of the body, we still have a duty to love them and share the Gospel with them.)
So we can praise the Lord for all this, because He has given every single member of our Congregations their own unique gifts with which to serve our Congregation, and together we can form our body and grow up into our Head, Christ Jesus.
Intern, Kevin Hall
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